How to Shop for Car Insurance Online
If you’ve ever shopped for car insurance, it’s likely that you began by seeking out at least one online quote. This makes sense because online quotes are quick and easy: enter your information, find the cheapest option, and contact that provider to purchase. Insurance is a complicated product, however, and the quote process is not as straightforward as it first may seem. Here are some insider tips to keep in mind when seeking online quotes.
1. Don’t “Self-Diagnose”
Insurance is complex — so complex that even insurance agents continuously need to educate themselves on the latest trends and offerings. Accordingly, simply identifying the type and amount of coverage you’d like to get a quote for can be tricky in and of itself. And if you don’t choose the coverage correctly, the quote isn’t useful.
2. Protect Your Information
An online quote is one of the easiest ways for your name to end up on an insurance agent’s sales-call list. Unless the quote form you fill out specifically gives you the option to turn down being contacted, expect many calls or emails within the next week.
3. Review Coverage
Online car insurance quotes can give you a fairly accurate price for your collision and comprehensive coverage, but liability — arguably the most important aspect of coverage — is much harder to accurately quote without detailed personal information. The same goes for underinsured motorist coverage, which is another vital protection.
4. Check for Extras
Each insurance provider offers extra “bells and whistles” that separate their policies from the competition’s, such as Accident Forgiveness and Diminishing Deductibles. These extras can provide a lot of extra value, and are difficult to evaluate when comparing online quotes.
5. Beware of Bait-And-Switch Schemes
If a price you are quoted online seems too good to be true, it probably is. These “lowball” quotes for dubious coverage are often just a way to grab your contact information, and the agents who eventually call you will try to upsell you to a much pricier policy.
6. Avoid Rate-Comparison Sites
Sites that provide quotes from multiple insurance carriers at once might seem like a time-saving convenience, but unfortunately these sites may feature some of the least reputable insurance carriers or sell your contact information to others. Stick with the trusted names you know.
Online quotes can be helpful and convenient for getting ballpark costs of comprehensive and collision coverage from a range of insurance providers. Because of the weaknesses that are inherent to the online quote process, however, it is advisable that you simply contact your trusted insurance agent directly. These experts can help you navigate the many complex options and find the coverage that offers you the best protection at the best value.
–Written by Matt Forrest